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Jamaican National Heroes - 10 Questions And Answers

by Deon Clarke | Associate Writer



National Heroes
Photo: Jamaica's National Heroes


Our National Heroes Day is celebrated on the third Monday of October each year in Jamaica. At this time we commemorate our national heroes and the contributions that they have made to our nation that has had a far-reaching impact on our lives to date. But how much do you really know about these stalwarts? There’s always a lot to learn. Let’s take a look at 10 questions and answers about them and see how much you knew.
  1. Who Was The First National Hero Of Jamaica?
    The First National Hero of Jamaica was Marcus Mosiah Garvey. He was born in St. Ann Jamaica on August 18, 1887, and died on June 10, 1940. He was black social, civil rights, and political activist both in Jamaica and in the United States a publisher, a journalist, an entrepreneur, and an orator who fought for equal rights and justice for poor blacks. He was also the founder and leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He was conferred with the Order of National Hero in 1969.

  2. Which Of Jamaica’s National Hero Has A Square Named After Him?
    Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay (Jamaica’s second city), St. James is named after National Hero Samuel Sharpe. He was born as a slave on a plantation in 1801 and was named after his slave master. He orchestrated a peaceful strike or protest about the poor working conditions and treatment of slaves but this instead became the largest slave rebellion in the history of Jamaica (The Christmas Rebellion or The Baptist War). He was hung in this very square that has been named after him and the prison cell that he was held in remains there in his honour. He was noted to have said that he would rather die on the gallows than remain a slave. He was conferred with the Order of National Hero by the then independent Government of Jamaica in 1975.

  3. Which National Hero of Jamaica Was Buried On A Hill?
    Jamaica’s only female hero (heroine), Nanny (given name Sarah Elizabeth Curry) is believed to have been buried on a hill in Moore Town, Portland in 1750 in a sacred area known as “Bump Grave”. Nanny was the leader of the Maroons and fought relentlessly for their freedom.

  4. Which National Hero of Jamaica Became A Hero While He Was Alive?
    The Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante was the only Jamaican National Hero to be conferred with this honour during his lifetime in 1969. He was a champion of the poor and oppressed in Jamaica. He was a labour rights activist and founded the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU). He was co-founder of the People’s National Party (PNP) and later left to form the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). He became the second Premier of Jamaica and shortly after, the first Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1962. He died in 1977 at the age of 93.

  5. Which Jamaican National Hero Was A Rhodes Scholar?
    The Rt. Honourable Norman Manley was a brilliant scholar, lawyer, athlete, and soldier. He was brilliant from childhood which saw him receiving scholarships including a Rhodes scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in England where he earned a Bachelor of Civil Law Degree with first-class honours. He co-founded the People’s National Party alongside Sir Alexander Bustamante and was appointed as Jamaica’s first Premier on August 14, 1959.

  6. Which Parliament Building Is Named After A National Hero?
    Gordon House, the House of Parliament is named after the Rt. Hon. George William Gordon. George William Gordon was born in St. Andrew in 1820 as a slave child to a slave mother and Scottish plantation master. His father gave him freedom at the age of 10. He was self-educated and became a successful businessman, preacher, produce dealer, politician, social worker, philanthropist, and advocate for the poor blacks in Jamaica.

  7. How Did Jamaican National Hero Paul Bogle Die?
    Born in about 1822, National Hero Paul Bogle was not a slave but was responsible for taking out slaves who were hired out to other plantations. He was deeply dissatisfied with the poor working conditions of the slaves. He was a deacon in the Baptist Church and a friend and follower of George William Gordon. In 1865 he led a protest march (The Morant Bay Rebellion) to the Morant Bay courthouse, against social and judicial injustices during which hundreds were killed and the courthouse burnt down. A subsequent warrant was sent out for his arrest and he was captured by the Maroons and handed over to Governor Edward John Eyre. He was tried and found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hung in the burnt-out Morant Bay courthouse on October 24, 1865.

  8. Where Is Jamaican National Hero Sam Sharpe Buried?
    Sam Sharpe was buried in the sands of the Montego Bay Harbour after his execution on May 23, 1832. His body was later removed and reburied under the pulpit at the Burchell Baptist Church in Montego Bay.

  9. How Did Jamaican National Hero Marcus Garvey Die?
    Marcus Garvey left Jamaica for England in 1935 where he continued his social and civil rights advocacy for black people and for black unification. He suffered a stroke in January 1940 and died in June 1940 after suffering a second stroke. He was buried in the Kendal Green Cemetry in London but his body was exhumed and brought to Jamaica in 1964 and now lies at the National Heroes Circle.

  10. What Was The Original Name Of Jamaican National Hero Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante?
    Sir Alexander Bustamante was born in Blenheim, Hanover on February 24, 1884, as William Alexander Clarke. After numerous international travels, he returned to Jamaica in 1934 with a new name of Alejandro Bustamante. In 1944 he officially changed his name to Alexander Bustamante through deed poll.
So there you have it, questions and answers about our national heroes. So how many did you get right? I bet you didn’t know some of these things about our heroes. It’s always a good thing t learn our history and mind you, there’s always so much to learn!

I also recommend you read, Places in Jamaica Named After Our National Heroes?.

Regards,
DC

References:
  • Nanny Of The Maroons | National Hero | Indomitable, Resolute & Defiant, My-Island-Jamaica, https://www.my-island-jamaica.com/nanny_of_the_maroons.html
  • Nanny of the Maroons, Jamaica Information Service, https://jis.gov.jm/information/heroes/nanny-of-the-maroons/
  • https://nlj.gov.jm/qcontentnational-heroes/, National Library of Jamaica, https://nlj.gov.jm/qcontentnational-heroes/
  • https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nanny-maroons, Encyclopedia, https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nanny-maroons

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